Pools and pee have been a matter of great concern for decades. If we talk practically, to pee is something absolutely natural and personal too. A swimming pool is a place where many people plunge in together. There might be swimmers using the pool, kids or any of us.
One cannot keep a check who pees intentionally or accidentally in a pool. This article of mine might throw some light on the causes and the preventive measures in order to enhance the hygiene levels of your pool.
A Pragmatic Approach - Pools And Pee
Like every question has an answer, every problem has a solution. So, today I would like to talk about the perceptions (negative ones) which people usually talk about. As a beginner, if any person is told about the pool and pee, I am sure that person would never ever be comfortable to step into the pool for the first time. Let’s be positive over here, and consider swimming as one of the best and the most loved sports and activities. Any problem can be dealt directly and indirectly, be it the pool and anyone urinating in it.
Valid reasons have always supported this point that swimmers do pee in the pool, accidentally or otherwise. A lot has been published and discussed in this concern. Even the swimmer community has been educated in this aspect also, but the outcomes were not so promising. We as humans are misled also many times by the people we are surrounded with or other sources, for e.g. A misconception is there that chlorinated pool kills everything including urine in the pool. These kinds of myths are certainly misleading, making urinating acceptable by swimmers on a generalized basis.
Unrealistic, unreasonable and ineffective measures or discussions should be avoided. I strongly believe in handling things directly and straight. Some more myths are there, like salt pools have no chlorine in them. Seriously, little knowledge is a dangerous thing and misinformation is misleading. It’s a basic human trait to be inclined more towards the wrong on the first go.
If people will believe all this then kids or swimmers will keep on peeing in the pool without any hesitation. So, my take on this is “Listeners Beware”.
Urine is sterile by nature, and chlorine just does nothing except disinfecting the pool. The urine is organic waste and is oxidized by chlorine, technically. Urea, when oxidized by chlorine directly, leads to a large number of nasty disinfectant by-products commonly termed as DBP’s. Now you can just imagine how harmful these DBP’s can prove to be? Air and water quality are massively affected by these terms. I remember that a survey was conducted in the year 2007 by Bowman & Mealy (Wisconsin State laboratory of hygiene), oxidant demand has to be destroyed completely to make chlorine work properly for disinfecting. Now, the problem can be solved directly, by destroying the oxidant demand. In this concern, catalyst enzymes have proved very beneficial.
Why Do Swimmers Pee Inside The Pool?
Roughly I have four reasons to mention here. I have categorized them into two perspectives!
The First Possibility- Going Out Of The Pool
Lazy To Go Out:
If the workout is interrupted- It happens sometimes, during training sessions the teams are working together and the guilt of leaving that practice and going to the restroom makes the swimmer feel to pee. The swimming culture involves exhaustive workouts, and skipping them to go to the restroom might be perceived as being undisciplined.
It's Too Cold
Scientifically, the workouts make us warm and the moment we are out of the water we shiver, as we come in contact with air. In simple terms, I can say when we are wet and are exposed to air, we feel cold. Accepting the term evaporative cooling, coming out of the pool is a great problem interrupting the workout and many of us avoid coming out of the pool. This is one of the major reasons I feel so.
Intentionally Not Attending The Coach’s Instruction
Someone might intentionally interrupt the coach’s instructions. There are many abbreviations, arrows, brackets, etc. to understand, and the focus might be missed out. Even after an explanation is done you might remain unfocused and later on interrupt for asking. This might sound indifferent to a non-swimmer, but the regular swimmers can understand it easily.
While Being In A Racing Suit
It becomes quite inconvenient, especially for girls to move out of the pool, go to the washroom, remove the swimwear, wear and again resume to pool shivering. This can be problematic for girls sometimes.
The Second Possibility- Holding It On
When we are in water there is much more pressure on our bladder than normal. It is very important for swimmers to remain hydrated, as workouts and continuous laps (5000 m roughly) makes us feel dehydrated. It’s better if one remains hydrated and peeing, despite feeling low with any sort of pain or cramps.
Somehow, we can just wish that swimmers pee the least, or don’t pee at all in the pool. How good to just think of this? In these modern times also, we don’t have anything which can know or measure the amount of pee in the pool.
A Bit Of Research
All of us who have ever been in a pool, have smelt chlorine, for sure. The pool odour is not just chlorine, but sweat, oil or urine mixed with it. It feels and smells …. Yuck!!
According to a famous professor Xing-Fang Li (University of Alberta) and her team a rough amount of pee can be measured in a pool. This could be possible as artificial sweeteners are carried in the urine of most people, which don’t easily break up in the pool. A sweetener called Ace-K (acesulfame potassium) was collected from the water samples. Not only in America but Ace-K (found in yogurt to soup) was found in the urine of people of China also.
The facts may blow your mind, studies say that any commercial pool which stores twenty two thousands gallons of water has nearly twenty gallons of urine. It makes just one-hundredth of a percent. Be it less or more it can prove very unhealthy and unhygienic. An environmental engineer Ernest Blatchley III (Purdue University) has also said that if people are using the pool, then they are peeing in it also.
Then, How Do We Handle It?
There is no single magical solution, with which this problem can be solved. But, on a positive note a combination of systems or products together can help a lot in this concern. Realistically, products working in harmony lead to cleaner, spotless and perfect pools. This makes me feel refreshed, when pools with the heaviest bather loads can also remain clean.
Chemistry, Filtration And Circulation (A Balanced Trio Of These)
As interdependency prevails, all these should be in a balanced combination, keeping the pool size in view.
Usage Of Special Chemicals
Chlorine is not the only component but the enzymes are more helpful in this concern (already discussed in this article before)
Indoor Pools Source-capture Ventilation, Well-designed Air Handling System
It becomes very important for in door pools to have proper ventilation, with the source-capture ventilation even the worst air can be exhausted. HVAC system (centre piece of natatorium) should be proper for recirculating air. Undersized dehumidification units and badly designed ducts are a major problem in indoor pools. They should be in proper working condition for handling quality air flow patterns.
UV and Ozone are the most common of these. They are located in the pump room and not directly in the pool. They are something which can’t replace the primary sanitizer like chlorine but certainly they help in reinforcing them.
The Wrap Up
Just imagine someone pees in your pool, one feels disgusted! It can lead to respiratory conditions, skin infections, and much more. I personally feel it inconsiderate, laziness of people sometimes. A sign board can be put, proper guidance can be provided to people of all ages, not to pee in the pool.
Children can be told that if they pee, a chemical if added in water will change it to some colour, this way they might be cautious….. though they are smart kids of a smart generation…. Ha ha . Lastly, double shock your pool and pool vacuum cleaning should be performed often. Don’t get scared of this problem, just try to solve it or minimise it by using proper measures.